Please Join Us Monday the 22nd for a Hair-raising Discussion of The House on Foster Hill!

Friends! Run and fetch our book for this month’s book club meeting ASAP! You’ll be able to finish it quickly. Be sure you have all the lights on as it will have you bug-eyed and a little on edge… (We’re meeting Monday the 22nd from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Invite your friends to join you! We’ll meet in the sanctuary of Middletown United Methodist Church. Address at the end of this post.)

The book had me from its cover:

Author Jaime Jo Wright created quite a page-turner, while jumping back and forth between two women separated by a century in the  very same house. Sounds confusing, but Jamie guides us readers along beautifully and at a fast pace.

It’s a huge deal Jamie Jo’s debut novel is nominated in two categories for the very coveted Christy Award: First Novel and Mystery/Suspense/ Thriller.

I’m only a hundred pages in, so I’m going to let reviewer Barbara Derse tease you for a moment :

“In her debut novel, Author Jamie Jo Wright has delivered a compelling tale of murder and mystery through a time split-story line connected by an old abandoned house, the lives it touched, and the long protected secrets it hold. Gripping suspense, multiple plot twists, hair-raising terror and well developed characters travel across the pages.

I found myself riveted by Kaine Prescott’s and Ivy Thorpe’s lives as they converged at The House on Foster Hill. Wright has woven a dual story so intricately entwined it took me to the end of the book to unravel and reveal the truth.

And, it was a surprise…not what I was expecting at all. The seamless transition from one era to the other kept the smooth rhythm of the story flowing and held me captive with each turn of the page to the very end.Though the story in both eras has a dark  and ominous feel to it, it also offers light and life. Intertwined with the frightening evil that overshadows the house, a legacy of hope rises and shines through the strong women who refuse to let the house’s secret ruin their lives or force them to live in fear; women who look to an eternal future.

Wright does an exceptional job weaving faith into everyday moments in a natural, unforced way…as it should be. Talk of God’s love and His promises written in scripture were flawlessly laid within casual conversation and deep reflections by the characters.

Wright has crafted a well written debut and is an author to watch in the coming years. I look forward to more from her.”

And, good news for us, Jaime Jo has written more…

(releasing January 22nd, available for ore-order.)

To find out more about Jamie Jo Wright, visit her website:  www.jaimewrightbooks.com

Grab some friends and join us in the sanctuary of Middletown United Methodist Church, Monday night, October 22nd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  The more the merrier!

Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

See you next Monday!

‘Til next time…

 

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How About a Staycation Where You Get to Travel Across 4 Continents? (with help from Tsh Oxenreider)

Friends!  Who in their right mind would tote THREE young children across FOUR continents, with her husband and FIVE backpacks over NINE months??? Uh, that would be Tsh Oxenreider.  Now that I’ve read her book, I feel as if I had the fabulous opportunity to accompany her from my little chair right here on our porch.

The book?  At Home in the World:  Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe.

Having enjoyed reading another one of Tsh’s books (Notes from a Blue Bike), when I discovered this one, I had to grab it.  Her little family accomplished this traveling while “world-schooling” their kids.  Their experiences are eye-opening and jaw dropping all at once. (Small detail:  their children were 8, 6, and 4 at the time.  Piece of cake, right?)

One minute you find yourself bug-eyed, the next minute you’re howling laughing. Upon some hair-raising discoveries you’ll find yourself saying, “Wow, I’m glad they did this!  Not sure I’d be so brave.” (i.e. finding a tarantula in your shower or monkeys stealing a sandal!)

We readers get to see firsthand how travel shapes and transforms this precious family of five. Chris Guillebeau said, “Tsh is a remarkable example of how to balance the rooted stability of family with the winged adventure of wanderlust.”

Toting only backpacks, the Oxenreider family hops a plane bound for China where they land twenty-nine hours later.  Upon arrival, they snap “first day of school” pics in Beijing, their three children’s blond hair fascinating the Asians. You’ll get to go on more than one tuk-tuk ride and gag over some prepackaged chicken feet in a market.

On to Hong Kong…and then Thailand where Tsh seeks out some spiritual direction.  I love her honesty and hunger to revive her faith. Amazingly, and surely God-orchestrated, Tsh is connected with a woman by the name of Nora, a spiritual director, who she meets with a number of times since they’d be in Thailand for two months.

Right away, Nora suggests the below phrase:

Precious pearls of faith are dotted throughout, many of which are revelations. God’s omnipresence will warm your soul.

The family flies to southern Thailand, strategizing to create an endless summer.  A ninety-degree Thanksgiving is what they got. On to Singapore, where it’s also ninety degrees, we learn it’s always ninety degrees there.

And did you know the Changi Airport is the best airport in the world? “Free movie theaters, swimming pools, art stations, video game portals, nature paths in outdoor gardens, world-class playgrounds, a butterfly sanctuary, and sleeping rooms.” Who needs Disney?!

After a brief visit, the Oxenreider fam is off to Australia and it’s Christmastime. They travel from Sydney, to Brisbane, to Cairns. We learn quickly Australia is “one of the world’s most expensive countries.” Interestingly, both Tsh and her husband, Kyle, have jobs where they can work from anywhere.

A huge aha moment occurred further into the chapter on Australia.  I’ve always been a fan of koala bears, thinking Qantas Airlines surely is the bomb.  I’d never realized the country is home to “5,700 different animal species, 80 percent found nowhere else in the world…Australia has more things that will kill you than anywhere else on the plant. Ten of the worlds’ deadliest snakes live here, and five of the most lethal creatures in the world reside in the northeast state of Queensland.” Packin’ your bags?

Tsh’s vivid writing brings each new element of each country to life. A favorite quote from their visit to Australia is, “The land is special here; a dance of God’s divinity with dirt. We are here to witness it.”

Red Rocks, Katajuda, Outback, Australia

John, their hiking guide, warns the children not to touch a certain plant with side effects you don’t want to read about, much less subject your children to. I’d have bailed.  You don’t want to miss this part.

Nor do you want to miss their snorkeling adventure at the Great Barrier Reef, making you want to jump in with them, even if you have to stuff yourself into a wet suit. Tsh shares, “The sky and water are monochromatic. It is a canvas of blue, textured by shadowy-small waves.”

Onward to New Zealand…from Christchurch to Queenstown. The plot thickens, when because of expenses, their next half of the visit will be spent in….get ready:  a campervan in non-stop rain. (I’d have had to stop and buy duct tape to cover my mouth.)

Another nugget we should all copy is a term Tsh teaches us upon their return to Australia where they get to housesit for friends. This friend’s parents pick them up at the airport, some fifty miles from the outskirts of Sidney where they’d be staying.  They come in not one, but two cars.  Commenting on the cost of gas, Tsh insists they at least pay them something.  But no, Pete and Bez won’t hear of it.

They go on to explain about “The Westbrook Effect” which came from an experience they had with a man named Westbrook.  Every time they came to visit, he’d pull out all the stops, going above and beyond, treating them like royalty.  They decided from then on that anytime they had guests they’d do the same. Likewise Tsh and Kyle said they’d be doing it too. Their family of five celebrates Christmas, and it’s on to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a “pear-shaped island southeast of India.”  What transpires here is my favorite part of the journey.  (Remember the tarantula and the monkeys?  Do NOT miss this chapter!) Also keep in mind that “cobras are as plentiful as Texas squirrels.” How much sleep would you get? (You’ll also discover incredible facts about tea in Sri Lanka and coffee in Ethiopia.)

Our own Kentucky author, Wendell Berry, introduces Part Four. It includes Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Morocco.

Part Five takes us to France, Italy, Croatia, Kosovo (where Tsh and Kyle met), Turkey (where they lived with two of their three children for some time), Germany, and England. Since Europe has always been Tsh’s favorite place to visit, the stops in each of these countries are extra special, including the places where they stay, one of which is an olive oil mill!

You can easily picture the countryside in these petite villages.  Breathtaking. At one point Tsh reveals, “Passport stamps became icons for gathered wisdom.

Every single chapter (there are twenty-two!) is a wealth of information, entertaining and educating the reader who I presume will add some of these stops to their own bucket list.

Now you know what I’m going to say! Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of At Home in the World:  Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe. See where your definition of home is after reading this.

Bonus: Don’t miss Tsh’s blog:  The Art of Simple www.theartofsimple.net

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

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Calling All Control Freaks: I’ve got an Rx for ya… (with help from Jennifer Dukes Lee) Plus, Don’t forget Ann Gabhart is coming next week to Book Club!

Friends!  This Tuesday, 9/18, a new book hits bookstores and bookshelves everywhere.  It’s an invaluable resource:  I call it my “current traveling handbook.” You’ll tote it with you to check and recheck, believe me.

The book?  It’s All Under Control:  A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

I first met Jennifer at a She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, NC in July of 2017.  Of all the class offerings, Jennifer’s jumped out at me: “How a small-time blogger can get a book published.”  I was there with my second draft of my book, praying to take as many classes and meet as many mentors as humanly possible.

I found Jennifer to be sincere, honest, funny, and tremendously encouraging.  She also gave us her email address should we have further questions, saying, “I have soooo been there!  Don’t despair!  God’s got this!” I exited the class a few inches taller.

Fast forward to this year and I’ve been blessed to be on the Launch Team for this book.  I’ve highlighted and dog-eared many a page, also tagging numerous resources in the back of the book.

Thanks to Jennifer’s confessions of things I think but wouldn’t utter, take-home value is at a premium.  Three of many favorite chapters include:

1 – Her prayer to the Holy Spirit (Chapter 8 – “Clueless: What to do when God’s To-Do List Makes Zero Sense) is not to be missed!

2 – Her three important words we must force ourselves to use:  “I need help!” (Chapter 10), not to mention discovering a killer great quote:

“Asking for help requires a heart-unzipped intimacy with God, who saw your need in the first place.” and

3 – Getting the chance to learn if you’re a “Driver,” a “Devoter,” or a “Darling,” (Chapter 4 – “Superpowers:  Uncovering Your Strengths, Your Kryptonite, and That Line We All Tend to Cross), plus you’ll find a much more detailed explanation in the back of the book.

Each chapter ends with a “Crack the Control Code” section, giving you concrete, helpful solutions to relinquish that control we think we have, but never really had.  Anyone? (I also loved the chapters on waiting and rest, but was determined to only give you three.  Smile.)

Three additional resources in the back of the book can be used over and over. I’m beyond certain you and I will do exactly that:

1 – The Control Code Continuum.  I pray you won’t find yourself in the Danger Zone! (Can’t get the song  Highway to the Danger Zone outta my head.  Thanks so very much, Tom Cruise.) Confession:  I discovered I’ve been in an Unhealthy Zone, only one notch up from the Danger Zone.  Good news:  Jennifer offers a manageable, doable “response” to getteth thee outteth of that zone!

2 – The Decision Tree – “Should I hang on or let go?” This is a great filtering tool which will quickly allow you to stop spinning in circles.

3 – Do, Delegate, or Dismiss – “Task of _____________.”

I’m telling you, I wish I’d had this book thirty-plus years ago when we began raising our boys.  If you have young moms in your life, march out immediately and grab a copy for them!  They will love you for this! (My daughters-in-love will be getting this book in their stockings.  Shhhhh, don’t tell.)

Now you know what I’m going to say, “RUN, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this book for yourself and for any of your friends you know could benefit from this book!’’

Finally, don’t forget to join us and bring a boatload of your friends, if you’re anywhere near Louisville, KY, next Monday Night, September 24th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. for Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church.  Author Ann Gabhart is coming and will be talking about These Healing Hills and we’ll also get to hear about her newest novel, River to Redemption. Click here for additional information. 

‘Til next time!

 

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Do You Believe in Miracles? If you don’t, this book could change your mind…. (Thanks to Lee Strobel’s The Case for Miracles)

Friends!  Calling all guys and gals to hear snippets from a mind-blowing book on miracles.  Forever siding with Doubting Thomas, yet a huge fan of Lee Strobel, I grabbed his newest book, The Case for Miracles:  A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural.

Wow.  Just wow. While I could easily end this post right here and say, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag this book,” I wouldn’t dare do that to you without sharing a couple of quotes to show you why you must read this book.

It’s obvious from the first page that Lee’s background in journalism causes us readers to feel like we’re on this exploration of miracles right beside him in his passenger’s seat.

Stellar questions sprinkled throughout, Lee poses,

Lee answers these and many more questions in his book. He begins by defining what exactly a miracle is:

Lee proceeds to cross-examine experts, mining for answers.  He bravely begins by interviewing “the most famous doubter in the country—Dr. Michael Shermer, founder and editor of Skeptic magazine.” This is found in Part One:  The Case Against Miracles.

Lee admits Shermer’s office is the last place he normally would’ve landed, however in his days of being an atheist, it would’ve been a place he’d have enjoyed.  I viewed it as walking into a potential lion’s den. But we readers can perch overlooking Lee’s shoulder and be ever so grateful he’s driving the interview.

Lee told Shermer upfront he wasn’t there to debate him. I confess I wanted Lee to put Shermer in his place, but hang on, we get some answers further into the book. At one point, Shermer debunks another theory of a research study on prayer, conducted at Harvard.  I was upset over the findings, but later relieved at what another expert revealed about it.  Oh, and you can guess, you must read the book to find out. Bada bing.

My favorite part is found in Part Two:  The Case for Miracles.  It’s my favorite because it holds a fantastic discovery of a real-live genius living a mere seventy-nine miles from my desk, at Asbury Theological Seminary, in Wilmore, Kentucky.  Wilmore is a hop, skip, and a jump from my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.

In Part Two, we get to meet this proficient professor and author, Dr. Craig Keener, who Lee interviews extensively. I was stunned he’s been at Asbury all this time.  Reading about his volumes of books will blow you off your rocker.

Lee tweeted a picture of them together quipping, “Great time interviewing Craig Keener for a project. While we chatted, he wrote three new books.”

Keener was also an atheist.  His come-to-faith story is beautiful.  Lee obviously resonates with him. He and Lee teach us the difference between actual miracles and apparent miracles. (Chapter 5 – don’t miss it!) We also get a peek into numerous documented miracles.

In Part 3 on Science, Dreams, and Visions, you’ll meet Dr. Candy Gunther Brown who can be found at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Her credentials are off the charts as well. She teaches us wonderful lessons about intercessory prayer.

Next up, Missionary Tom Doyle shares beautiful, inspiring real-life stories. Tom and his wife, JoAnn work with Muslims.  He reveals what happened to him shortly after 9/11, “That was the day that God started to create space in my heart for Muslims. It comes down to this:  Are we able to see through Jesus’ eyes and not our own? He filters out all the news and prejudice. Once you have His eyes, you see people for who they are—made in His image.”

The most difficult to grasp information comes from Dr. Michael G. Strauss and J. Warner Wallace, MTS, in Part 4, The Most Spectacular Miracles. They teach on the Miracle of Creation and the Resurrection.  You may wish to have a bowl of oatmeal or something packed with protein to get your brain working on over-time in order to grasp how they answer Lee’s questions. (I’m not kidding.)

Moving forward while covering all bases, Lee surprisingly shares what to do when miracles do not happen.  I didn’t realize his wife, Leslie, has chronic fibromyalgia. They’ve prayed for a cure, and still no answer.  Lee openly and honestly reveals their struggles.

We also get to meet Douglas R. Groothuis, PhD. He, too, has a wife who suffers. She has progressive aphasia.  His honest memoir, Walking Through Twilight is a masterpiece according to Lee.

Their thoughts on suffering are full of hope as well as excellent reminders of why we must live with an eternal perspective.  Simultaneously, you’ll be struck with how very blessed we are in spite of our circumstances.

Finally, don’t miss my new favorite phrase Dr. Groothuis gifts us with:  spiritual sanity.  He says,

“When I’m angry with God, when I’m distressed and anguished and seething at my circumstances, I think of Christ hanging on the cross for me.  This brings me back to spiritual sanity. He endured the torture of the crucifixion out of his love for me. He didn’t have to do that.  He chose to. So he doesn’t just sympathize with us in our suffering; he empathizes with us. Ultimately I find comfort in that.” (emphasis mine)

Lee will ask you to come to your own conclusion about miracles at the end of the book.  I’d be curious to hear from you when you get there.  I’m so very thankful Lee took on this project, conducted extensive surveys, and interviewed so many experts. What a faith builder!

Now I can say this, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag this book!”

You’re welcome.

‘Til next time!

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Why We Must Consider the Legacy We’re Leaving… (With help from the Green girls of Hobby Lobby)

Friends!  Just wait ‘til you hear about this life-changing, must-read book…

It’s written by Jackie Green and her daughter, Lauren Green McAfee. (Jackie’s husband, Steve, runs Hobby Lobby and their stories woven throughout are incredibly fascinating.) The book is called Only One Life:  How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy.

I heard the authors interviewed on the Eric Metaxas show recently (www.metaxastalk.com ) and promptly ordered the book. What intrigued me is the book’s format.  Each chapter focuses on an attribute of what makes a good legacy:

What’s super cool is how the girls introduce you to a Biblical character, a historical character, and a modern-day character for you to meet and see how their lives exemplify these attributes in each chapter.  Some I was familiar with, while others were lovely discoveries.

For example, Winston Churchill’s nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, was a very strong Christian and had a huge influence on him, teaching him to memorize Scripture, giving him a personal faith.

Let this soak in for a minute:

“It can be argued that because of her, the Nazis did not come to rule Europe, and because of the way she carried out her duties, the Soviets would not realize their aspirations to extend their brand of Communism to the world.”

The Green girls said Churchill “would attest that the prayers and spiritual principles he had absorbed from Elizabeth Everest were the anchor of His soul.”

Another new-to-me historical figure is Elizabeth of Hungary who’s in the chapter on the legacy of generosity. Elizabeth’s mother is who gave her such a strong faith.  She was born in 1207.  Her father was King Andrew II of Hungary.

She was highly influenced by Francis of Assisi who said,

Elizabeth married at age 14, having been betrothed to Prince Ludwig of Thuringia at the ripe age of 4! Amazingly, she “helped establish a monastery in Thuringia. She also used her dowry to found eastern Europe’s first orphanage.” Her story is full of intrigue you won’t want to miss.

You also don’t want to miss Jackie Green’s relation to Queen Elizabeth II!  This is in the chapter on the legacy of wisdom, Queen Elizabeth being our modern-day character. Other modern-day women we meet include fireball Christine Caine on the legacy of rescue, wise teacher Kay Arthur, and on loyalty, the one and only Ruth Bell Graham. (These are just 4 of the 12!)

We also learn that Marie Green “imparted her faith and values to David Green” (Jackie’s father-in-law) who then left his faith to his children, one being Steve, Jackie’s husband.  She adds, “There is nothing more important than to point a child toward their Heavenly Father and the redemption available through Christ.

You’ll learn how Hobby Lobby came to be as well as their thoughts on generosity, how they run the company, and even the details about the Supreme Court’s ruling over their health insurance, regarding their pro-life beliefs.  Your jaw will drop more than once over the details the Lord helped them overcome in an excruciatingly long trial, especially with such intense scrutiny from the media.

Also in the chapter on generosity Jackie discusses “the legacy-building power of a lifestyle of generosity.” We glean pearls from their family discussions.  She shares,

“A committee reviews and makes decisions on giving corporately,

…viewing each request through a specific lens

Will it advance God’s Word?

Will it save a person’s soul?”

We readers also get to learn about the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., that the Greens started.  It’s a wild journey you won’t want to miss.  The Museum is at the top of my Bucket List. (www.museumofthebible.org )

Further details on the museum can be found in another book the Greens wrote called, This Dangerous Book:  How the Bible Has Shaped Our World and Why It Still Matters Today.

Of all the Biblical characters we meet and learn about in Only One Life,  my three favorites are:  Huldah the prophetess, Hannah, and Ruth (but then how could we leave out Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Esther, and the seven others??!!!).  The chapter on teaching stands out to me perhaps because I love to teach.

Huldah is introduced to us in 2 Kings, chapter 22, Mary Lyon, who started Mount Holyoke College is the historical heroine, choosing Psalm 144:12 to be the college’s motto:  “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (KJV), and Kay Arthur is our modern-day teaching example, having started Precepts Ministries International with what the Greens call an “unlikely start.”

The legacies left from Huldah, Mary, and Kay are astonishing.  Don’t miss the details included.  Seeing their impact on countless souls makes you think in each case, “Wow, that is just from one woman!”  Exactly the point of the book.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Only One Life.  You’ll find yourself sharing story after story with your friends and family, and the best part is they’re all true!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Come Meet Author Ann Gabhart and Hear Her Talk About Her Novel, These Healing Hills, September 24th!

Friends!  Mark your calendars to join us next month for what promises to be a superb first-of-the-season Branches Book Club meeting on Monday, September 24thBonus:  Author Ann Gabhart is coming to be with us to talk about her page-turner of a book, These Healing Hills.

The girls at Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church invite you to come and bring some friends! The more the merrier! We’ll be meeting from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

These Healing Hills is the winner of the Grace Award in the Action/Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category and is also a finalist in the Faith, Hope, Love Reader’s Choice Awards in Women’s Fiction.  Bravo, Ann!

Allow me to give you a petite teaser on These Healing Hills…

One of many aspects I love about this novel is it’s about the frontier nurses in Appalachia.  These were and are very brave souls who attend nursing school with the intention of traveling the hills of Kentucky and caring for the sick.  Delivering babies, a la nurse-midwives, is their specialty.

Ann clearly did her homework, researching these nurses’ education, mode of transportation, culture, etc. These Healing Hills opens in 1945, just after the war ended. We quickly meet Francine Howard. She has come from the big city of Cincinnati to the very tiny town of Hyden, in Leslie County, Kentucky to become a frontier nurse. (Please see a real frontier nurse below!)

 

Fran arrives with two built-in challenges before she ever begins work at the clinic. The first challenge could perhaps be the reason for Fran leaving Cincinnati and joining the Frontier Nurses.

Fran had had a close relationship with a young man who had been at war.  His homecoming surely meant their future wedding.  Unfortunately, he met and married a gal in England. Fran learned he was bringing this new wife home.

The second challenge involves Fran’s mother, who’s still in Cincinnati. She is completely against Fran moving to the mountains and pokes fun of the “hillbillies and their ways.”  While we readers fall in love with Fran, we easily get upset over her mother who speaks her mind mercilessly.

While Fran catches on quickly to nursing, as well as traveling on horseback, she doesn’t catch on so quickly to the mountain’s trails and becomes lost. More than once.

Enter one handsome young man, Ben Locke, who’s also just returned from the war.  They have several chance meetings and are obviously attracted to one another.

Fran befriends Ben’s whole family as she takes care of his brother, Woody, as well as his sister, Sadie, and delivers a baby of another one of his sisters, Becca. (This is only the beginning of several plot twists.)

In my research of the frontier nurses, I happened upon this picture.  This is one of the real nurses who called on families.  Thanks to Ann’s writing, this is exactly how I pictured them. (Note the dog and lots of children.)

Ann weaves the importance of prayer and reliance upon the Lord throughout her novel as well as tucking in Scripture verses and a song here and there.  She also writes so visually you feel as if you’re right there with Nurse Howard (Fran) and her patients.

I happen to know Ann’s a dog lover, and she doesn’t disappoint by including a loyal, super smart dog in the story as well as some puppies who we readers become endeared to.

Here’s a favorite quote:

Not without frightful occurrences, including an encounter with a rattle snake, and a mysterious shooting, Ann keeps us guessing while rapidly turning the pages of These Healing Hills.

Will Fran stay? Will she and Ben give in to their attraction to one another? Will her former boyfriend meddle in the middle? Ah, my friend, you must read this book to find out! And read it before our September 24th meeting!

It was a sad day for me when I finished the book. I didn’t want it to end. It begs for a sequel, and that’s going to be my first question for Ann when she comes to book club!

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab These Healing Hills. You have plenty of time to read it before we all get to meet, greet, and hear from the author herself, Ann Gabhart.  Be thinking of questions to ask her! You do not want to miss this opportunity!

Mark your calendar:  Monday, September 24th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church.  Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502)245-8839. (Because of the ongoing remodeling, we will be meeting in the sanctuary.)

One final fun fact: Since we chose Ann’s book in the spring, she’s had yet another book release, River to Redemption, this past July. I’m sure we can ask her questions about it too! (It’s next on my nightstand.)

 

‘Til next time!

 

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What is Barefoot Hope?

Friends! I learned a new, fantastic-n-fun phrase this week. The crazy thing is the phrase popped off a page I was reading in a book I’ve read more than once. Huh? How did I miss this?

The phrase is barefoot hope.  Its inspiration came from a winsome and bright four-year-old little girl.

Author Kay Swatkowski had her four-year-old granddaughter, Nikki, over for a visit. It was a cool, crisp spring day. Kay had just let Nikki out in the backyard to play. Within seconds, she noticed Nikki had plopped down on the ground, immediately taking her shoes off and “flinging her socks through the air.”

(This story comes from Day 43 of a Grandmother’s Prayers: 60 Days of devotions and prayer. This is one of my favorite daily reads, thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gave it to me when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. I read it, and when I complete the 60 days, I start all over. It’s a superb gift for new grandmothers!)

Kay said Nikki was barefoot and dancing with joy. Nikki hollered to her, “Grandma, where is my pool? Can Papa put up the swing? Summer is here!”

Kay told her summer wasn’t here yet, that it was too cold, and she best put those shoes and socks back on. Clearly determined and overly astute (!!!) Nikki said, “But Grandma, look at the trees! Summer is here.”

Kay couldn’t argue with that as many of their maple tree’s branches were dotted with green buds. Nikki correlated the buds with summer.

Kay said, “Nikki was filled with hope. Barefoot hope—a hope that made her act in faith on the promise of warmth, sunshine, and hours on a swing.”

We readers are then shown Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:32,

Kay said Jesus “shared this parable to encourage His followers to be as observant about watching for the signs of His coming as they were about anticipating the coming of summer.”

As if reading my mind, Kay confesses she wishes she had a barefoot hope not only for the coming of summer, but more importantly for His coming, Jesus’ return. She said her hope is “more of a wouldn’t-it-be-nice hope that does little to change my daily life.” My excuse is I simply forget. Ouch!

Now she shows us how to tie this subject to our grandchildren, defining barefoot hope as a prayer for them, praying they will:

“Hope in His promises.

Hope in their future.

Hope that God will always be with them, even in their struggles.

Hope for forgiveness.

Hope for divine intervention.

Hope for healing hurts and broken relationships.

Hope that Jesus is coming again to right the wrongs of this world and to take us to live with Him.

…as they trust in Him, they will overflow with a barefoot hope that makes them sing and dance with joy.”

Kay’s love for God and His Word permeates all of the pages of her book. She blesses us readers with numerous Scriptures which pertain to the day’s subject matter, and  in this case, hope of all kinds.

To learn more about Kay’s book, CLICK HERE for my post from last August.

Run, don’t walk, and grab this book! And kick your shoes off while you’re at it!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grandchildren